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Lunya
is reinventing sleepwear for women, by women. Their collections are made up of advanced fibers that some specific sleep problems – hot sleepers, cold sleepers, etc. Each piece is designed to work together and meet the individuals sleeping needs. We love everything and the fabric just melts you. We sat down with founder, Ashley Merrill, to find out more about her inspiration and what it’s like to balance work, life and kids.

GFMD: Why Lunya?

Ashley: I could relate to the problem because I was someone who was wearing my husband’s shabby old clothes in an effort to be comfortable, so I was passionate about solving it.  I had a strong vision for what I believed was possible and felt there could be a great business to be had in solving it well. 

GFMD: Where does your inspiration come from?

Ashley: We’re inspired by women.  By who they want to be, what their lives look like, how they live, etc.  Our designs celebrate women’s bodies by trying to make them comfortable in thoughtful ways (smooth seams, stay put straps, etc), flatter them (as women we always put on the clothes and make sure we FEEL our best with them on prior to releasing them), and that work with how they live (cell phone pockets so you have your hands free, clothes that can transition in and out of the home as needed, etc).

GFMD: What does your typical Beauty Routine look like?

Ashley: Arcona face wash, Vintner’s Daughter Serum, and Skin Clinical Lotion on top, essentially i use a mild cleanser and try to lock in vitamins and moisture.  As for makeup Im pretty minimal.  In a big day I will softly line my eyes with dark brown shadow and I will top with Benefit They’re Real mascara. 

GFMD: How do you balance work, mom, wife, life (tips / rituals)?

Ashley: I try to think about life in the macro vs on the day to day so I don’t make myself crazy – though I still do lol.  I look at my whole life as a pie graph of time and goals.  I think about how much I want to give to the different slices and realistically when that needs to happen and then I try to allocate my time somewhat in that way.  When I think about buckets like: travel, kids, relationship, friends, career, and community, I can evaluate what really matters and make decisions from that place.   As an example, my husband and I travelled a lot prior to kids and we will get lots of that later in life but kids and career are timely and at this point in my life they dominate my time.  I think this is ok and it gives me some peace about saying no to friends and other things that I would be interested in for the short term.  Balancing between husband, kids and career is a moving target and I wish I knew the right balance.  There is no perfect solution but I do my best to correct when things feel off.

GFMD: What was the last book you read?

Ashley: I wish that I could say some fabulous Historical Fiction because I love those but generally I dont have a lot of time so if I do read it tends to be business related.  I recently read Insanely Simple and found it to have some killer marketing insights.  I loved the metaphor they used for clairity of message…. If someone throws one ball at you then you catch it but if they throw you three balls at once its hard to catch any.  It was  powerful point about being simple with your message.

GFMD: Perfect day…is?

Ashley: Waking up to two kids in great moods.  Heading to work and feeling the energy and passion of the team when they are in sync and working well together.  Then I would workout at lunch… maybe even go for a run along the beach (we work close to the beach).  Then I would work a little more and then pick up my kids from school   Hang with them for snack and then maybe have a little time to myself for art, organizing, or whatever.  Make dinner (I love cooking) and then have a family dinner.  This isnt my actual life but Im happy that my perfect day and my actual days arent miles apart.  I hope that means Im on the right track 😉 

GFMD: When you need to destress what is your go to?

Ashley: I find TV these days to be so quality and immersive that its great to transport me out of a stressful situation. I love Handmaids Tale, This is Us, The Americans, etc. 

GFMD: What is your favorite room in your home?

Ashley: The living room because it has amazing windows.  Oddly its a room Im rarely in.  Perhaps it also appeals to me because its kind of a novelty for me to be in it?

GFMD: Favorite Lunya product?

Ashley: This changes often but I love the Lunya silk robe right now.  Every silk robe looks the same and we were determined to build something better.  I think we really landed on something special and it looks great in and out of the home.

GFMD: What advice can you offer women in the workplace?

Ashley: Find a company you love where you think you can add value and work every day to do that.  Every company will have its pros and cons but focus more on what you can do to make a difference than on all the things the company could do better.  You will be happier, more empowered and more valuable to the company.

GFMD: Best advice anyone has given you is…?

Ashley: Be the change you want to see in the world.  I dont recall where I heard this but its basically my life motto at this point.

GFMD: First thing you do when you wake up, is?

Ashley: Read my email.  I know that virtually every wellness blog says this is a bad Idea.  What can I say, Im a flawed person and I love knocking out email first thing int he morning while my house is still quiet.

GFMD: Last thing you do before you go to sleep, is?

Ashley: Put my cold feet on my husband so he can warm them up.  I dont know how men can run so much hotter but its like sleeping next to an inferno.

I’ve always had a contentious relationship with sleep.

When I was diagnosed with an unknown form of epilepsy (a seizure disorder) at 17, I was given a lifetime prescription to pharmaceutical drugs and the gift of a neurologist-sanctioned excuse to get a full eight hours of sleep a night.

My doctors stressed the importance of getting regular sleep—physical fatigue and emotional stress exacerbate the symptoms of epilepsy—but frustratingly prescribed me a medication with a main side effect of insomnia. Ah, the irony.

 

@betterbymichelle

Michelle Pellizzon

I spent many years staring into the dark as the clock ticked through the night, my mind refusing to rest.

This double-whammy of a problem—seizures and permanent under eye bags?!—lead me to eventually stumble upon meditation and mindfulness practices. After practicing full-body meditation on a regular basis, it became clear that my body was desperately trying to communicate with me … and I was not paying attention. But slowing down and listening helped me hear what my body was trying to say.

Although I wasn’t a perfect meditator (I often go days without sitting), I noticed my epilepsy symptoms went away when I did indulge in a few minutes of mindfulness a day. So did my insomnia. The improvement in my wellbeing was remarkable. Mindfulness gave me a clearer overall perspective of the world, which helped me take everything a little less seriously and have a little more empathy for other people. Perhaps most importantly, I learned exercises that allowed me access to my subconscious mind, which in turn made me far more creatively inspired and made me less anxious.  I became a better version of myself mentally and physically.

But before you get to thinking that I’m some ego-less Buddhist monk, let me be honest: I didn’t tell anyone about my weird new habits. Even though I was performing very well at work, present in my relationships, and pretty dang happy, I was worried people would raise their eyebrows at my experiments.

Then something really wonderful happened. As part of my work as an editor, I began to interview female leaders in an attempt to understand how women can change the paradigm of what it means to be a ‘female leader’ in this modern age. And I was surprised to find that the best leaders I interviewed—the ones who really walked the walk and talked the talk—all had a spiritual practice … like me. And they were a bit nervous to reveal that aspect of their personality, even though it clearly played an integral role in why they were such incredible leaders … which also resonated with me. When asked, they made it clear that they wanted to connect with like minded women who understood where they were coming from.

After seeing this pattern emerge too many times, I created oh holisticism, a collective of women interested in exploring the intersection of holistic living, mindfulness, esoteric healing, conscious leadership, entrepreneurship, and fun. Today, we count ourselves at over 1,500 members across the world.

I’ve learned a lot in the past few years while on this path, but hands down, the most important tool that I’ve learned over the past decade of experimentation is what I’ve come to call the Awake/Unconscious exercise. Whenever I revisit it, my creativity knows no bounds and I notice an elevated sense of mental clarity, and I can immediately see which areas of my life need more attention.

The practice is inspired by psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s theory of the subconscious mind. Jung believed that the subconscious (or unconscious) mind impacts the actions of our conscious, waking mind. Essentially, our unconscious influences our perspective, logic, awareness, emotional intelligence, and feelings. It’s the root from which everything else grows.

If we can tap into the insights of our subconscious mind, Jungian practitioners believe, we can access our true depth, potential, and genius. No big deal.

Here’s the tricky part: Jung stipulated that our subconscious mind is constantly trying to communicate with the conscious mind, but the two essentially speak different languages. This is because the subconscious is buried deep within our psyche. It’s tough to access, and even more challenging to communicate with. One way Jung suggested we translate what the subconscious is trying to tell us? By looking at our dreams.

Jung’s work and research led him to believe that our unconscious mind communicates best through dream imagery. While we’re asleep, the psyche can run wild and truly express itself. When I first read this, I was so annoyed. I’ve never been one to recall my dreams. For so long my insomnia prevented me from even sleeping, and now I’m usually so tired at night I don’t even remember my head hitting the pillow. Try as I might, I couldn’t remember my dreams.

So I found a solution—a way to channel my subconscious without having to keep a dream journal. In the 10 minutes directly after I wake up, I write. You know that sleepy time when you’re half awake, have morning breath, and are still kind of dreamy? That’s when your conscious mind is waking up, too, and taking the steering wheel from your subconscious. If we’re lucky, we can tap the transition and use that time to allow the subconscious to communicate.

I am constantly STUNNED by what ends up coming out during this quiet time—some of my most creative ideas or intense feelings have been ‘accidentally’ revealed to me during this 10-minute exercise. It’s amazing for when you’re stuck on a problem, feeling stressed, or just want to get clarity on a situation. Here’s how it works.

  1. Fall asleep. Get 8 hours. Wake happy.
  2. Immediately after waking up, grab a pen and paper. Don’t check your phone or technology.
  3. Begin writing. Don’t even think about it—just allow your pen to float across the paper without judging or inhibiting yourself. This is the most important aspect. Do not try to think of what to write or go back and read what you’ve written mid-sentence. Allow your subconscious to take over, even if you just write jibberish! Just don’t let your pen leave the paper. You can draw or you can write. Get in flow.
  4. If you have specific questions, write them down the night before and answer them in your Awake/Unconscious state.
  5. Stop when you feel ready. You can do this exercise daily, weekly, monthly! Whatever.  

Like all things, the more you do this exercise the easier it gets. And it’s so easy, you can do it from bed! You’ll likely find that you’ll look forward to this practice, because it’s so interesting to see what the subconscious reveals.

#beautyzzzs, @betterbymichelle

Waking up looking refreshed requires more than just the absence of under eye darkness or puffiness, the skin tells the story. To understand better what actually happens to our bodies and minds while we sleep and why it is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle, we sat down with Dr. G to get the scoop.

What controls sleep?

Hormones play a major part of healthy sleep. Melatonin is a hormone made in the brain by the pineal gland and helps to regulate the sleep wake cycle. Human growth hormone or (GH) is released during sleep and hence it’s name, helps to regenerate and grow healthy cells. Studies have shown that ingesting oral melatonin before bed can increase growth hormone by over 150%. As melatonin levels decline with age, only minuscule amounts of the small quantities produced by those suffering from sleep problems actually reach the skin. Ingesting melatonin before bedtime is extremely effective in getting the hormone levels back in balance and delivering a healthy sleep.

Other studies have shown that going straight to the source and applying melatonin directly to the skin may allow those suffering from insomnia to benefit from it’s rejuvenating powers, not only for restoring the appearance and texture of skin, but also in getting a good night’s sleep.

What ingredients should we use night and why?

The restorative power of sleep is vital for rejuvenating and repairing the skin and is controlled by the hormone melatonin. Melatonin production increases and peaks around 2am, so applying a night cream before bed enhances your skin’s ability to rest and reset. Wearing anti-aging products at night allows skin to absorb all the nutrients and ingredients while being in a relaxed state and out range of UV rays and pollution.

During the nighttime hours, the skin springs into action to repair itself back into balance through a restorative and renewal process.The most potent anti-aging ingredients to look for in a night cream include: Retinoids, Peptides and Melatonin. The efficacy of melatonin as a topical agent also offers a promising avenue to enhance the skin’s nightly repair cycle.

  • Retinoids attack hyper-pigmentation, stimulate skin to generate collagen and hyaluronic acid, increase radiance by reducing pore size, safely exfoliate and increase cell turnover .
  • Peptides encourage skin cell growth and collagen production. Peptides are made up of a string of amino acids held together by tough bonds of nitrogen and carbon that act as messengers to send out signals which tell the receptors on your skin cells how they should perform. A few of the most beneficial peptides include palmitoyl pentapeptide-3,which is a peptide that triggers a natural heal-and-repair response that stimulates the development of collagen and elastin, encourages new fibroblast growth, and increases the production of skin cells. Acetyl hexapeptide-3 is a powerful wrinkle-reducing peptide that works by hindering a signal protein called catecholamine that triggers muscle contraction, thereby relaxing your facial muscles.
  • Melatonin plays a key role in rejuvenating skin by stimulating the growth of major skin cells such as keratinocytes and fibroblasts. Fibroblasts produce the essential proteins collagen and elastin, which provide structural support for the skin. Melatonin has also been shown to be effective against skin aging. It has powerful antioxidant properties by quenching mainly hydroxyl radicals, the most damaging of all radicals.

What can we do to ensure a good night’s sleep?

Set yourself up for success by making your bedroom into a successful sleeping area. Sleep with your head slightly elevated can help with fluid retention in the facial area. Fluid retention occurs while we sleep because we are lying flat and circulation can be affected. Excess sugar, salt and alcohol will add to fluid retention. Consumption of all these pollutants can escalate swelling and puffiness to the eyes and face. Try to avoid alcohol before bed as it leads to uneven sleep rhythms in the brain as well as fluid retention.

Top tips for a good night’s sleep:

  • Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature
  • Silk pillow case-softer and less absorbent than cotton-silk won’t dry skin out and also causes less pulling and tugging if you’re a face sleeper
  • Wear earplugs to ensure silence
  • Noise machine- used to calm babies and help them sleep, noise machines can be beneficial for falling asleep as well as staying asleep
  • Stop using electronics an hour before bedtime and keep your phone/tablet out of the bedroom-blue light interferes with sleep
  • Eat plant based high fat foods with dinner to stay satiated and balance blood sugar while asleep
  • Wear an eye mask -keeps light out